Sprint’s Race to Be Last in Customer Service

The utter pathetic ineptitude of Sprint’s customer service is legion. But Steve’s letter really butters the biscuit for its pristine irony and Mobius strip double-non-think.

Just a hint, imagine a cellphone retailer that says there’s no way to call the store.

Follow the dark and unctuous wendings of this tale of customer service horror, after the jump…

Steve writes:

    “I’ve been a Sprint customer for many years, about a decade. I have and always have had one of their most expensive phones, and I use a lot of premium services. I love Sprint’s cell phone service and their technology. I do NOT love their customer service, which has recently gotten far worse.

    My new phone, the Samsung version of the RAZR (far nicer than the RAZR, by the way), had a broken microphone. I couldn’t make calls, because nobody could hear me. I went to Sprint.com to find out what to do. They told me to call a Sprint store for service, and told me I needed to check and find out if they can service my phone. So I called the number for the closest store on their website. Surprise! I got a recording. And not just any recording, but one of those “Please tell me why you’re calling!” recordings that make you guess at what phrases the computer knows and doesn’t know. It’s like watching technology eat itself. Anyway, I finally figured out that “Representative” would get me to an operator. This is of course not a representative in my local store but at Sprint’s central HQ, who then transferred me to that store’s technical support department. But of course, that went straight to voicemail. I left a message, explaining my situation, then called and went through that long and painful process for three other stores. So in short, I needed to call the phone store, and despite the fact that they are fully staffed and all have cell phones, and the fact that the walls of the store are literally lined with working phones, I cannot actually call into the store. I don’t mind stopping by… but if they don’t support my phone, I’m wasting my time!

    So one of them calls me back. The other three stores never did. The guy who returns my call tells me they do support my phone. I stop by. There’s a concierge of sorts at the front of the store who puts my name on a giant LCD flatscreen hanging in the middle of the store. I finally get called to a support person, and they take my phone and look it over. Then they tell me “We have to do some tests on it… come back in about an hour.”

    “About an hour?” I said? “Why don’t you just call me when the phone is ready for me?” “Oh, sorry, no, we don’t call.”

    “WE DON’T CALL!”… It’s a phone store! It’s full of phones!

    So I come back an hour and forty-five minutes later, go to the concierge, get my name on the screen, wait, wait, wait, finally get called. “Oh, I’m sorry, it looks like they’re not done with it yet…” To which I reply, “but they told me to be back in an hour, and it’s been almost two hours, and they wouldn’t just call me when it’s ready… what am I supposed to do?” She told me to hang on and she went to the back, talked to the tech people (who are in some kind of protective glass booth, no doubt bulletproof), and came back and told me they’d have to order me a replacement.

    “Ok, how long will that take?” “Three to five days. Call this number,” (she writes it on my receipt! It’s the direct number for the store! I’m in!) “after 3pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.” A long pause. “Excuse me? I have to call you every day to find out if my phone arrived? Why can’t you just call me? IT’S A PHONE STORE!” “Sorry, no, we don’t call.”

    Terrific. So I wait, and I call Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday… then Monday… then Tuesday… phone comes in the following Wednesday, over a week later.

    So to summarize, the phone store I pay tons of money to does not accept or make phone calls from any of their 50 phones. Thank you Sprint for making this process as difficult as possible for your loyal customers.”


Edit Your Comment

  1. Danilo says:

    I was worried the Amba$$ador Program would, via arcane combinations of sub-audible chirps, prevent you from properly sharing these sorts of stories going forward.

    I feel sheepish for doubting your constitution against subliminal re-programming.

  2. non-meat-stick says:

    How did you do all this calling when your microphone was out? I don’t feel your pain here, it’s obviously not that impeeding on you. You could have saved half this rant if you would have just gone to the store to begin with…

  3. Ben Popken says:

    Joshua writes:

    “Whenever it’s time tp upgrade our cell service, I always feel a little
    dirty. In fact, the entire industry seems like such a scam that I’m
    still using a phone from 2000. Can you believe that I read Gizmodo?

    Anyway, despite all that we’ve actually had good luck with Sprint. Most
    recently, when my wife was unable to connect her new Treo 650 to the
    Internet, the tech support guy she spoke stayed with her until the
    problem was resolved. It took a few days, but he answered her emails and
    even called her up from home. That’s an impressive level of service and
    completely unexpected. I can’t say it’s enough to keep us loyal, but
    combine that with non-crippled EVDO and cheap data plans…maybe we’ve
    just been lucky.”

  4. L_Emmerdeur says:

    I’m of the opinion that every single large telecom company on God’s green Earth is useless. It’s technology designed and administered by MBAs. It’s customer service done by tech geeks. The only telecom companies that ever get consistently good reviews are the small ones, five minutes before they get swallowed up by some retardo-laden behemoth.

    I have an MBA. I am a tech geek. MBAs know nothing about people. Tech geeks know nothing about people. How can you expect such people to please a customer, when they don’t even know how to (or care to) please their own girlfriends?

    And that’s the real problem. They just don’t give a shit. Their customers have nowehere to go but one of the big boys, so the choice is which big, useless, customer-hating company to choose? The government doesn’t protect us, because they take it in the sphincter for five bucks and a Big Mac Happy Meal from any lobbyist looking for a cheap whore.

    I’ve been a TMobile and a Verizon customer. They can both suck me off. They have cost me countless sums, and their service has been Byzantine and laden with cost traps (and Verizon’s network is composed of the same stinking dinosaur shit as TMobile’s network). The only good experiences I had involved an employee of one of those companies breaking the rules to help me, and suggesting that I commit fraud to avoid getting reamed.


  5. elisefly says:

    I called Sprint last July to complain about multiple dropped calls even when I was at my home, well within range. I asked if I could get free roaming to help with the dropped calls. After about 30 minutes of arguing my case, she added the free roaming to my existing plan. I wrote her name down (Veronica)and the time I spoke with her because of past experiences where they denied ever speaking to me about a problem. We got a recent bill with 25 dollars of roaming charges. I called customer service today to explain that I should have free roaming. “Alen” said that he saw where Veronica had tried to add the roaming but it looks like she couldn’t do it. I never received a call telling me that it was not added. I was told by Veronica that it was done. Alen then said “Since you are a valued customer, I am going to go ahead and credit half of that back to you.”
    “Half?” I asked. “I should get all of it because I was under the impression Veronica had given me free roaming.” He continued to argue and put me on hold until finaly I said, “Look, are you going to give me the 25 dollars back or not”.
    Alen says, “I will credit you 17 dollars.” Being very fed up due to past experinces as well, I said “I’m done. That’s it, I’m done with Sprint.”
    Alen says, “Okay I will credit you the 25 dollars”. This all took more than 1/2 an hour. Why couldn’t Alan do that from the start?

  6. karlmarx says:

    Sprint does not try to be last in Customer Service, I have ahd a Sprint account for 10 years and have never really had a problem with their service. If you keep your phone up to date with the firmware and PRL’s and buy a new phone every year to keep you up with the current technology.

    I very sincerely know that all carriers are the same, and none are perfect. Just like cable companies.